There are some things in our lives as children that dwindle away as we grow older, and that now as adults we may miss and strive to regain – sense of wonder, play, imagination and… the nap. That blissful ability to fall asleep whenever, wherever. Talking , singing, bouncing in the back seat one minute, then sound asleep the next. And then we, as parents, continued to drive around. Groceries could wait; the nap could not.
It was several years ago now, but I very sweetly remember one Sunday, we were spending a quiet afternoon at home. There was no, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, or any other commitment. My son was content, doing his homework or watching a movie. I took to reading on the couch. An hour or so later, I awoke in a delicious state. I was relaxed and refreshed. Peaceful. It was my first nap in probably ten or more years. It was luscious. Better than chocolate. I was hooked.
Health officionados rattle off a litany of reasons why you should nap – recharges the brain, you’ll live longer, look younger, be in a better mood, be more, improved memory retention, heightened creative insight. Some say that we are, as are most mammals, wired to sleep in shorter cycles, more often during the day and night, rather than one fell swoop of eight hours. Some claim the need for a solid eight is a myth. (Although, I wouldn’t try selling that concept to the mother of a newborn.)
There are many famous advocates of napping – JFK, Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Cindy Crawford, Jenny McCarthy, to name a few. Smart people. And naps are free and they can even save you money. One quick nap and no need for the mid-afternoon $5 caramel macchiato.
I realize napping is not for everyone, and in our North American go-go-go culture, a full-on two hour siesta would likely be considered highly irregular, but 20-30 minutes can really be a benefit. Even a quick 10 minute nap can improve alertness. And the shorter naps can be especially sweet if stolen, or snuck in between two meetings. Nirvana.
But, for me, the real bliss is in the uninterrupted, no pressure, no deadline, no alarm, nap. Even if relegated to weekends and vacations, there is such sweet luxury in a long afternoon nap. On the front porch, in front of a roaring fire, in a hammock, or on a blanket on the grass. You can start out reading or lay down with the singular sole purpose of falling asleep. There are even guides on how to nap. Is it possible that since childhood we’ve really forgotten? Sadly, I think so. Fortunately it comes back fairly easily. Try it a few times and you’ll be napping like a pro.
Perhaps napping is a luxury, but I claim it as an essential luxury.
What about you? Do you love to nap? Where’s your favourite place to nap? Share your nap time stories in the comments below. We want to hear.